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Kitty Hawk Workers' Compensation Law Blog

4 tips for nurses to avoid back injuries

Working as a nurse in a hospital setting is a physically demanding job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nurses have a significant risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. One of the most common musculoskeletal complications among health care workers is back pain.

One reason that so many nurses suffer from back injuries is from lifting and transferring patients. While this is an inherent hazard of being a nurse, there are some steps you can take to reduce the threat of suffering a career-ending back injury. 

How to appeal an SSD denial

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits, you are probably already well aware that this can be a complicated and difficult process. Although your claim may seem rather straightforward and without a doubt deserving of benefits, the Social Security Administration, SSA, denies a large majority of claims on the first application.

However, what is important to note about that phrase is the fact that it mentions on the "first" application. This implies that many people appeal their denials and can be successful on a second try. Although the process can be challenging, there is a way you can increase your chances of success.

Is my job protected if I file for workers' compensation?

If you suffered an injury on the job, there are likely lots of questions you still have unanswered. In addition to recovering from your injury, you may have to deal with other important issues such as medical bills and possible missed time off work. Perhaps the most important question of all is: What happens now to your job?

Many people who sustain an injury at work fear that if they file a workers' compensation claim, they will lose their job. The truth is that your employer cannot fire you for filing a legitimate claim for workers' compensation in the state of North Carolina. 

Gray areas when it comes to special errands

Employers generally need to compensate employees' medical bills who have sustained injuries while on the physical premises. However, if an employee suffers an injury while driving to or from work, then he or she would be unable to collect workers' compensation. Since you are on the commute, you are not technically at work yet, so the employer is not liable for any injuries sustained. 

Due to this rule, many employers also mistakenly believe they are not liable for any injuries if the worker has to go out and run an errand. As long as the employee is on the clock and receiving payment for the task, then he or she would absolutely qualify for workers' comp. However, there are always some gray areas even in terms of running a special errand.

Can I handle my Social Security Disability case on my own?

Disabilities affect a wide range of the U.S. population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, based on data from the most recent census in 2010, a total of 56.7 million people - 19 percent of the U.S. population - had a disability at the time of the census. 

If you have a disability and have worked in jobs in which you paid into the Social Security system, you may be eligible to apply for a federal benefits program called Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSD or SSDI. Because information is so readily available online nowadays, you may be tempted to prepare your application on your own. However, this can be problematic for a variety of reasons. Before you decide to handle your SSD case on your own, understand whether that is in your best interest.

After you suffer a work injury: 3 tips

Few things are worse than having your health and livelihood threatened by an injury on the job. Whether you have slipped on a wet surface, been hurt by a machine or suffered strain from repetitive movement, you should receive the medical care you need. Workers' compensation claims can play an important role in connection to such care.

There are many concerns you may have when dealing with the aftermath of a workplace injury. This includes concerns over whether you will be able to get back to work soon and how the workers' comp claim process will go. There are steps you can take to try to minimize your time away and try to make sure important legal issues are properly addressed after a workplace injury.

Can you work part-time and still get SSD benefits?

If you have a disability that has prevented you from making a living, you may be receiving Social Security Disability benefits to get by. As time passes, however, your condition may change, or you may have a desire to re-enter the workforce, at least to some degree. You may also have questions about whether returning to work will hinder your ability to continue to receive SSD benefits, and this tends to vary based on several factors.

Per the U.S. Social Security Administration, you may, depending on certain circumstances, be able to resume working part-time without having to sacrifice your SSD benefits. Certain work-incentive programs currently in place, among them Ticket to Work, encourage those receiving SSD benefits to return to work by having special guidelines that can allow you to do so without losing your public benefits.

Workers' comp does not cover pain and suffering

There are numerous myths that persist regarding filing a workers' comp claim. You should be able to differentiate between what is real and what is false, so you can acquire the funds necessary to pay for medical expenses and to take time off work to recover. 

With many personal injury lawsuits, a person can recover damages for pain and suffering. However, workers' comp functions differently from a standard lawsuit, so while you can receive compensation to pay for medical bills, you may not get anything for pain and suffering. Although workers' comp can certainly cover a large portion of new expenses, you may feel entitled to more. 

Workers' compensation fraud is largely a myth

When people defraud the workers' compensation system, it tends to make headlines. Take a recent example of a man from Raleigh who defrauded insurance companies out of nearly $150,000 for false workers' comp claims. There are numerous stories similar to this one to the point where one would expect fraud to run rampant. This myth allows employers to be skeptical of any employee who files a claim, believing the worker is exaggerating the injuries. However, fraud occurs extremely seldom. 

According to ABC News, between one and two percent of all workers' comp claims are fraudulent. However, if you asked employers what they believed the percentage was, they would likely tell you something much higher. It is vital for employees and employers alike to separate fact from fiction so that anyone injured on the job can get the health care he or she needs. 

What types of expenses can workers’ compensation benefits cover?

If you suffer an injury on the job that prevents you from earning your typical income, you may be wondering whether you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. If you, for example, fall off a ladder, ingest a toxic substance or throw your back out moving heavy machinery, you may have valid concerns about how you will pay for medical care or provide for your family in the aftermath.

Workers’ compensation exists to alleviate such issues and allow you the time you need to recover and, hopefully, return to work.

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